« Twitter: more Toastmasters than mosh pit | Main | Tanning Tax ? »

Keeping experience consumption and cutting back on others

"It's a different kind of recession," said Richard Florida, the author of several best-selling books about the economics of cities. "It's not like in the '30s when people stopped going to concerts. Now people seem to be keeping up with experience consumption and cutting back on other necessities."

Psychologists have been saying for years that shared experiences like vacations lead to more long-term happiness than the latest bauble. And perhaps the change was inevitable -- to be expected when a shopping-spree nation trades a glut of credit for layoffs and furloughs.

There are, of course, potential problems as the United States drops old habits of consumption. On the macro level, economists worry that it could undermine a recovery. And the shift may be temporary: holiday shopping appears to have increased a little in 2009.

But in many homes today, experiences have become a more valued element of life. Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics at Moody's Economy.com, said that the behavioral changes were likely to be less transformative than what followed the Depression but that after three decades when consumer spending outpaced gross domestic product, the end of a spendthrift era may be here.

Business / Economy
In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less
Published: January 3, 2010
After decades of living on credit, Americans are rearranging their lives to elevate experiences over things


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)